Active Adventures in USVI

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Active Adventures in USVI
The U.S. Virgin Islands has some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world, including the chance to get cozy with sea turtles, but it's not all about the water—there are educational hiking tours and opportunities to take to the skies.
Photo courtesy of St. Thomas Flyboarding
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    Airborne Adventures
    Skydive Virgin Islands was the first skydiving company in the region, jumping at St. Croix and St. Thomas. You may never have heard of flyboarding, but once you see it, you'll never forget it. Strap onto a flyboard and use water pressure to shoot yourself up to 30 feet in the air, or to dive under water. St. Thomas Flyboarding at Lindbergh Bay has the equipment and instructors. Zip-lining—where you whiz across a cable by a harness attached to a pulley—is another high-flying, adrenaline-soaked activity; check out Tree Limin' Extreme on St. Thomas.
    Photo courtesy of St. Thomas Flyboarding
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    Explore the Islands' Rum and Beer
    While in the Caribbean, you'll want to become acquainted with the local rum. Tour the Captain Morgan visitor center and the Cruzan distillery on St. Croix to learn more about the spirit, and then spend your cocktail hours deciding which is better: the mojito, the sidecar, or the daiquiri. For a taste of small-batch distilling, try the homemade liqueurs sold at Lucia Henley's Native Delicacies on St. Thomas. If you're more of a beer enthusiast, check out the variety of delicious (and award-winning) craft brews available at The Tap Room at St. John Brewers.
    Photo courtesy of Cruzan Rum
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    Snorkeling Underwater National Monuments
    Take a deep breath, because the U.S. Virgin Islands are known as one of the top snorkeling destinations in the world. There's plenty to see beneath the sea, starting with not one, but two underwater U.S. National Monuments. Snorkel the Buck Island Reef National Monument off St. Croix and the Virgin Islands Coral Reef Monument off St. John and you'll quickly learn why these special areas are protected. Big Beard's Adventure Tours provides guides to help you navigate your way along the underwater trail off Buck Island. Other superlative snorkeling is from Coki Point Beach in St. Thomas and Leinster Bay in St. John.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Hiking the Islands
    One of the best ways to dive in to the U.S. Virgin Islands doesn’t even involve water. Get your feet dirty and explore the natural side of St. Croix culture with a hiking tour by CHANT (Crucian Heritage And Nature Tourism). Guide Veronica M. Gordon (known locally as the Bush Lady) is a seventh-generation native traditional healer, and her tour includes historical and botanical information. Mount Victory Camp, also on St. Croix, is an ecolodge which offers trekking and instruction on island skills like basket weaving and how to make a fish hook out of bone.
    Photo by Macduff Everton/age fotostock
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    Turtle Encounters
    The U.S. Virgin Islands tags turtles as part of an ongoing conservation effort, and locals even know many of them by name. If you want to see these reptiles in the wild, head out to Buck Island on a sailing tour. This island, just 1.5 miles north of the coast of St. Croix, is a well-known habitat for the creatures, with leatherback, green, and hawksbill turtles all nesting here. Alternatively, try the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, also on St. Croix, which is a refuge and nesting spot for the leatherback sea turtle. To get a guaranteed close look at green sea turtles, head to Coral World on St. Thomas for the Turtle Encounter.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Underwater Thrills
    When it comes to submarine adventures, there's more to the U.S. Virgin Islands than snorkeling and scuba diving. Hop on an underwater Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter (BOSS) in St. Thomas, and speed over the sandy bottoms of the ocean while checking out the marine life. Prefer having your feet on the ground? Take a Sea Trek at Coral World. This unique activity involves wearing a specialized weighted dive helmet that fits over your head and shoulders, allowing you to walk (rather than swim) along the underwater trail. Located in the open ocean, rather than a tank, the Sea Trek makes it likely that you'll come face-to-face with fish and larger creatures like turtles.
    Photo courtesy of Coral World Ocean Park
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    Diving St. Croix
    St. Croix is a well-known dive location for serious scuba divers, but is great for beginners, too. The reef is estimated to be about 4,000 years old and is the largest living coral reef of any island in the Caribbean. Aside from an abundance of sites, there's the sheer variety—you can dive a pier, a wall, a reef, and a shipwreck if you wish. Try the wall at Cane Bay, near Frederiksted, or the piers in town. In nearby Butler Bay, there's a shallow wreck—the Suffolk Maid—for newbies and a deep wreck—the Rosa Maria—for more experienced underwater adventurers; both house an abundance of sea life.
    Photo by Carlos Villoch/age fotostock